The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSEPH GREENAWAY JR., District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment by Defendant National Senior Associates Company, LLC
("NSAC") and the Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment by Plaintiff
IQ Group, Ltd. ("IQ"), pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56. For the
reasons set forth below, all motions and cross-motions for
summary judgment shall be denied.
These motions arise in the context of a dispute between
business competitors. IQ and Wiesner Publishing, LLC ("Wiesner")
are businesses that provide advertising services for insurance
companies: they send ads by email to insurance agents. In 2003,
National Senior Associates Company, LLC ("NSAC") and Capital
Care, Inc. ("Capital Care"), insurance companies, both hired IQ to send advertisements. NSAC and IQ
dispute who created the NSAC ad, and thereby who is entitled to
claim authorship and hold the copyright. IQ distributed copies of
the Capital Care and NSAC ads via email to insurance agents; the
ads sent by IQ displayed a graphic described by IQ as a logo. The
IQ logo consists of the outline of a capital "Q" with the outline
of a lower-case "I" in the center. Both outlines are shaded, as
if in graphical relief. The ads also contained a hyperlink that,
when clicked, directed the user to a page of IQ's website which
IQ claims contained copyright notices.
After IQ had distributed the NSAC and Capital Care ads, both
NSAC and Capital Care hired Wiesner to distribute the ads via
email. Both NSAC and Capital Care provided Wiesner with the ads
that IQ distributed. Wiesner removed the IQ logo and hyperlink,
added new information so that responses to the ads would go to
NSAC and Capital Care, and then copied and distributed the ads
IQ subsequently applied to the U.S. Copyright Office for
copyright registration, claiming authorship of the NSAC and
Capital Care ads. IQ obtained copyright registrations as of
October 22, 2003. IQ then filed suit against Wiesner, NSAC,
Capital Care and other parties, claiming copyright infringement,
violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), and
breach of contract by NSAC, which is alleged to have used IQ's
artwork without permission.
NSAC filed a motion for summary judgment on these issues: 1)
The court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the copyright
infringement claims because of fatal defects in pleading; 2) the
copyright registration for the NSAC ad is invalid; and 3) IQ
cannot prevail on its breach of contract claim. IQ filed a
cross-motion for summary judgment on these issues: 1) NSAC has
infringed IQ's copyright on the NSAC ad; 2) IQ is entitled to
increased statutory damages for NSAC's allegedly willful infringement of the copyright on the
NSAC ad; and 3) NSAC violated the DMCA, 17 U.S.C. § 1202, with
regard to the NSAC ads.
I. Governing Legal Standards
A. Standard for a Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is appropriate under FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)
when the moving party demonstrates that there is no genuine issue
of material fact and the evidence establishes the moving party's
entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Orson, Inc. v. Miramax
Film Corp., 79 F.3d 1358, 1366 (3d Cir. 1996). In making this
determination, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in
favor of the non-movant. Hullett v. Towers, Perrin, Forster &
Crosby, Inc., 38 F.3d 107, 111 (3d Cir. 1994); Nat'l State Bank
v. Fed. Reserve Bank of N.Y., 979 F.2d 1579, 1581 (3d Cir.
Once the moving party has satisfied its initial burden, the
party opposing the motion must establish that a genuine issue as
to a material fact exists. Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v.
Lacey Township, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109 (3d Cir. 1985). The party
opposing the motion for summary judgment cannot rest on mere
allegations and instead must present actual evidence that creates
a genuine issue as to a material fact for trial. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Siegel Transfer,
Inc. v. Carrier Express, Inc., 54 F.3d 1125, 1130-31 (3d Cir.
1995). "[U]nsupported allegations . . . and pleadings are
insufficient to repel summary judgment." Schoch v. First Fid.
Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990); see also
FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e) (requiring nonmoving party to "set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial"). If the nonmoving party has failed "to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial, . . . there can be `no genuine issue of material
fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all
other facts immaterial." Katz v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co.,
972 F.2d 53, 55 (3d Cir. 1992) (quoting Celotex,
477 U.S. at 322-23). In determining whether there are any issues of material
fact, the Court must resolve all doubts as to the existence of a
material fact against the moving party and draw all reasonable
inferences including on issues of credibility in favor of the
non-moving party. Watts v. Univ. of Del., 622 F.2d 47, 50 (3d
II. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction as to the ...